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Cannes Tips on French Etiquette

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Parlez-vous français? If your reaction to that sentence was “oh, I know this one!” or “umm… what?” this means you need to brush up on your French etiquette before going to Cannes Lions. Akommo is happy to present your Survival Guide to French Etiquette to help you get by in Cannes!

1) French - Basic Words and Phrases

Here are a few words to get you started:

Bonjour – Hello

Merci – Thank you

De rien – You’re welcome

Ça va ? Ça va, et toi? – How are you? Well, and you?

Un café, s’il vous plaît – One coffee, please

Pardon/excusez-moi – Sorry

Oui/non – Yes/no

Combien je vous dois? – How much is it?

Je vais à l’aéroport/la gare – I’m going to the airport/train station

Où est la soirée/conférence? – Where is the party/conference?

Quel vin me recommandez-vous avec ce fromage/ce plat de viande/poisson? – Which wine would you recommend with this cheese/meat dish/fish dish?

Les toilettes sont au fond à droite/gauche – The toilets are at the end to your right/left

Holala!/putain! – Use it for any reaction in a conversation (YES, French people actually say “Ooh la la!”). Make sure to use putain with caution (it’s a swear word, but they will probably laugh at a non-native saying this).

2) Cannes Cuisine

You’ve heard about it, you’ve dreamed about it, and now it’s time to pick the right dish and finally try it! We all know summer in Cannes is hot, so you will probably eat a very light meal at lunchtime. Here are some ideas:

Une salade césar/niçoise/parisienne/périgourdine – Ingredients change depending on the restaurant, and if you have allergies ask exactly what’s inside!

Un croque monsieur – basically a ham and cheese sandwich but with that French touch. You can have the same with an egg (un croque madame).

Une quiche lorraine – an open pie filled with cheese and ham or bacon (called lardons in French), ideal with a simple salad.

Bouillabaisse – a traditional Provençal fish stew. It’s prepared hot so perhaps isn’t the best choice in summer, but it’s a real must-try in the French Riviera so maybe save it for dinner!

Croissant, pain au chocolat, macaron, mille-feuille, éclair au café – obviously you can’t beat the these breakfast and coffee break French snacks, so try them all - we won’t judge.

You probably won’t have enough time to taste all that the French cuisine has to offer while networking and jumping from one Cannes Lions conference to the other. When you come back next year, we’ll be happy to help with food recommendations, as well as Accommodation.

3) French Stereotypes - True or False?

French people are arrogant – True and false. OK, so our amis français aren't always the most friendly. But always keep in mind that they might be having a bad day and this happens to everyone. A few words in French from you can be a better start to a polite conversation (merci beaucoup goes a long way).

French people don’t speak English – Again, true and false. Like everywhere in the world, you will find people who know how to speak English and others who don’t. But especially in Cannes, between tourism and big congresses, pretty much everyone there will understand you.

French people love to complain – True for the majority of the time, but don’t generalise! Yes, they complain about the weather, politics, rights (yes, they do strike,but that also means they fight for their rights!)… All you have to do is give them cheese and wine (and cigarettes, probably) to ease their pain!

French people eat snails, frogs, baguettes, and cheese, and drink wine and smoke a lot – Actually, true for the most part. Snails and frogs are not very common dishes to be honest, but give them a try if you dare. As for baguettes, cheese and wine - well, you can’t leave the country without trying these, or you’ll regret it. And as for smoking… well, it lends itself to the mysterious, romantic charm, doesn’t it?


Celebrate la Fête de la Musique (Music Festival) on 21 June! The city of Cannes and participating bars are offering free concerts everywhere. In particular, have a look at Rue des Frères Pradignac - the party there will be insane!

Still searching for somewhere to stay? We’re happy to introduce you to your free account manager, who will take care of all of your event accommodation needs.

Il ne nous reste plus qu’à vous souhaiter un bon voyage et si vous êtes perdus avec les Français, appelez-nous au +33420880130.

Have a safe flight, and if you are lost in translation in la belle France, give us a call at +33420880130.

À plus!